GREENHILL — The Lauderdale County portion of the Alabama Barn Quilts Trail is officially open.
“We now have three barns, and we hope to add more soon,” said Regina Painter, who is heading up the project in Lauderdale County.
On Monday morning, students from the Allen Thornton Career and Technical Center hung the third barn quilt on a barn at Don Wade’s Farm near Greenhill.
Painter is working through the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism office to spread the word about the barn quilt project. More information is on the Facebook page, Alabama Barn Quilts, which includes the sites and information on the quilts that have already been hung.
Painter said barn quilt trails are nothing new. She said the concept of barn quilts — patterns of quilts painted on wood and hung on old barns — began in Ohio in 2001 by Donna Sue Groves as a way to honor her mother and her heritage.
She said there are barn quilt trails where people can drive from barn to barn seeing the paintings which depict patterns of a quilt.
Published reports indicate there are more than 7,000 organized trails scattered across the U.S.
“This falls into the agri-tourism concept,” said Joe Dickerson, a Lauderdale County representative with the Alabama Farmers Federation. “This helps promote the agriculture industry, as well as tourism. It showcases a lot of the older farms we have in the county.”
Painter has been working with the Northwest Alabama Resource, Conservation and Development Council, and Lauderdale County Chapter of the Alabama Farmers Federation on the project.
Charlie Meeks, executive director of the Northwest RC&D Council, said the council provides $1,500 to help with materials needed for the project.
Naomia Skye, an art graduate at the University of North Alabama, and other UNA art students painted the quilt patterns onto two, 4-by-8 wooden sheets. The wood was pieced together by students at the Allen Thornton Career Technical Center, framed, and then hung on a barn.
“None of this would have been possible without those agencies getting involved,” Painter said. “It’s really neat that we were able to bring together so many resources and make this happen.”
The three barn quilts in Lauderdale County are at Balch Farm on Lauderdale 431 in Killen, Charlie Thompson’s Farm on Lauderdale 48 in Lexington, and the Wade Farm in Greenhill on Lauderdale 25.
Painter said if the number of calls from people interested in having a barn quilt is any indication, she expects the tour stops to grow in size quickly.
“We’re getting a lot calls from people wanting to be a part of this, which is great. That’s what we want,” she said. “We want to be able to showcase the heritage and the farms of the region.”
Dickerson said this will get people out of the towns and into the rural areas of the county.
“They can see the countryside and the beautiful areas we have in the region,” he said.